Fort Berthold Diabetes Program
Workout rants from the desk of
Sir Zachary Stewart
By Zachary Stewart- Fitness Specialist
Hello people of the MHA nation it is once time again for sir Zack to write about something. So today I felt like I would write about training methods I learned when I first started lifting weights and still use today. This are designed to push your training a little further or to mix it up. So instead of doing something maybe four sets of 10 reps (just a random example) you might throw one of these into your workout.
Let’s start this bad boy off with the first method I ever learned and it’s named super setting or super sets. Superset training involves performing two separate exercises back to back with no break in between. This is a good way to really super charge your muscles to perform under maximum stress which will give you a really great pump when you are finished. It may take beginners a considerable amount of time to develop the level of endurance needed to perform supersets, although they can be performed with little to no weight. Supersets can be used to work alternative body parts (usually opposing muscles) or can be used on the same body part to pump extra blood into the muscles for a deeper tissue finish. For example, alternative body part superset training could involve performing a push exercise, such as a bench press followed by a pulling exercise such as a bent over row. This is a great way to really promote muscular balance and symmetry. On the other hand, if you really want to work a particular area, say for example, your hamstrings, you may perform a set of dumbbell lunges and immediately move onto a hamstring curl machine to really break the muscle down.
Now we will slide on into what is called Negative Reps, this relies on focusing on the lowering phase (eccentric contraction) of an exercise. It is performed by slowing down the rate at which the full movement is performed and controlling the overall tempo. Most people tend to focus on the shortening phase (concentric contraction) for maximum intensity. However negative movements tend to exert greater pressure on the tendons and supporting bone structures. This means that the greatest level of micro-tears occur during a negative repetition. Greater muscular damage forces the body to adapt and grow back bigger and stronger. For example, when performing a bicep barbell curl, lower the weight slowly to the normal starting position. Resist on the way down for a maximum of 3 to 5 seconds. You will certainly notice the difference!
Alright now let’s talk about a method I used to not like but once as I understood it I found it very useful. This method is called Partial Reps. Do you often find yourself too fatigued to perform a full range of movement consistently as your working set wears on? Half repetitions may be the tool you need. It means exactly how it reads, performing only part of the rep or half (usually stopping at the point of greatest stress). These are meant to be performed only when you are unable to complete the full range of motion as a way to squeeze in a few extra repetitions, increase intensity and work the muscle concerned beyond what it is currently used to. An example of performing this method is when you are doing leg extensions. When you are unable to perform the complete movement of almost getting your leg to a 180 degree angle without ‘cheating’, you then proceed to only perform half of the movement by extending your leg slightly past the 90 degree mark. This serves as a useful way to tear down as much muscle fiber as possible. You have been warned this one is a killer!
Our next method is pause repetitions and they are a tried and tested method of really accelerating your progress from both an aesthetic and strength standpoint. Essentially, pause repetitions remove the ability to use any momentum to complete an exercise, and solely relies on the strength of the muscle alone to hold an exercise at a certain point (usually the point of greatest stress). An example of when pause repetitions can be used quite effectively is when you are performing a bench press. Instead of exploding back up with either the barbell or dumbbells in both of your hands, focus on pausing at the negative part of the exercise when the bar or dumbbells are as close to your chest as possible (where your chest is at maximum stretch) and hold the position for a minimum of 2 seconds before pressing up. Pause repetitions can be incorporated in every exercise or lift you can think of and is a really unique way of working the muscles even harder to blast through a plateau.
Ok friends our last method is going to be rest/pause training. Do not confuse this training method with the one before. Rest/pause training involves lifting heavy weights or exercising at maximum intensity during your working set until you cannot perform any more repetitions. You then take a break for a few seconds to catch your breath and then continue forcing out extra repetitions until you have fully completed your set. It is important to rest for only a few seconds as resting any longer can help the fatigued muscle fibers quickly recover. Essentially, resting for long periods of time will force you use to the same muscle fibers as before, rather than stimulating new and untapped fibers A good example of rest/pause training is performing chin-ups and once you begin to reach failure, you momentarily let go of the bar, recuperate quickly and force out additional repetitions until you are done.
And there you have it, five advanced training methods you can use and incorporate as part of your muscle-building repertoire and begin to break through that ‘wall’ which may be holding you back. Although you do not need to use every single method mentioned, it is a good idea to at least use a minimum of three whenever the situation requires to really make it less predictable for your muscles and to adapt effectively.